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A morning stroll in Novato's 500-acre Rush Creek Open Space Preserve offers a medley of hiking pleasures - oak forest, wetland marshes, ridge views and bird-watching.

A morning stroll in Novato's Rush Creek Open Space Preserve offers a medley of hiking pleasures - oak forest, wetland marshes, ridge views and bird-watching.

Sugarloaf is a 177-acre open-space parcel with 3 miles of trails offering ridgeline views of downtown Walnut Creek, Mount Diablo, Las Trampas Ridge, the Briones hills and Shell Ridge.

Sugarloaf Open Space a Walnut Creek treat

Sugarloaf is a open-space parcel with 3 miles of trails offering ridgeline views of downtown Walnut Creek, Mount Diablo, Las Trampas Ridge, the Briones hills and Shell Ridge.

The former home of Walnut Creek pioneers Frank and Mary Borges is open to the public.  After exploring the ranch, you can cross into East Bay Regional Park District land and view the remarkable formations known as Castle Rock in the Mount Diablo foothills.

Borges Ranch to Castle Rock: Day hike full of variety

The former home of Walnut Creek pioneers Frank and Mary Borges is open to the public. After exploring the ranch, you can cross into East Bay Regional Park District land and view the remarkable formations known as Castle Rock in the Mount Diablo foothills.

Tucked into Wildcat Canyon in the Berkeley hills, the scant 10-acre garden creates exquisite landscapes ranging from California's southern deserts to the rain forests of the north.

Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden: easy stroll

Tucked into Wildcat Canyon in the Berkeley hills, the scant garden creates exquisite landscapes ranging from California's southern deserts to the rain forests of the north.

16 great Marin County hikes via Jessica Mullins in SFGate 2014

Big Rock Ridge's summit is the second-highest point in Marin County, offering views of the Bay Area and beyond.

At 920 feet, Hawk Hill is the perfect place to see migrating raptors as they fly south in the fall. Hawk Hill also provides a perfect human perch that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands.

Hawk Hill: People, birds flock for views

At 920 feet, Hawk Hill is the perfect place to see migrating raptors as they fly south in the fall. Hawk Hill also provides a perfect human perch that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco Bay and the Marin Headlands.

This small preserve — only 122 acres — offers 360-degree views of the Tiburon peninsula and beyond.

Old St. Hilary’s Open Space Preserve: Walk offers Tiburon views

Hilary’s Open Space Preserve: Walk offers Tiburon views

Expect to see some fantastic views when hiking the Bay Area Ridge Trail.

Bay Area Ridge Trail adds another piece

See 14 photos and 1 tip from 153 visitors to Bay Area Ridge Trail.

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